Hi everyone – back for another round of updates this am. First off is a little mini working session at La Colombe coffee in Lincoln Park. It’s such a cute little spot and the staff is super friendly. I tried the Unsweetened Hot Chocolate (yep, that’s a thing) with just 100% Dutch cocoa and some milk. I added cinnamon and stevia and it was the perfect thing to warm me up.
Next up, Restaurant Week strikes again: this time at Yard House. I got to taste a couple beers, try some cauliflower bites (not on the RW menu but never had them before so why not), and a few other items. Like I said last week, I’ll be recapping all things RW in a future post soon!
In this theme of food comes one last restaurant run in The Berghoff – the oldest restaurant in downtown Chicago (the 3rd in the area since the first two are in the ‘burbs) in a 40,000 sq ft building. It was so fun getting to see some of my friends and meeting new ones – not to mention that the food was AMAZING. No wonder they’ve been in business for 120 years! Thanks to Chicagogrammers for setting this up.
The first item I tried was the pretzels, one of only two items out of the 300 not made in house. That’s right – 298 total items on the menu are made from scratch daily, the chefs get to the kitchen at 4:30 am baking the bread and ready for the day. They also have over 30 beers on tap and are looking to start brewing in house soon too. Hopefully I’ll be back to tour these new facilities once they are up and running. Anyway, one of the reasons that the pretzels are not made in house is because it’s made with lye – great in bread but very dangerous to work with in the kitchen. This pretzel was so moist and doughy – and the beer cheese just tops it off perfectly.
I tried the spinach stuffed mushrooms next – they tasted just like these spinach “cookies” my mom used to make. Pesto with cheese and spinach – yum!
The pastrami sandwiches were a bit salty (I’ve never had one before so I’m not the expert on these) but the cheese curds (which I do know a thing or two about) had a nice crunchy breading and a cheesy inside.
The last little band of treats I consumed were the brats (the freshly baked buns had a nice crunch yet soft), the cauliflower bites (wish there was a little more crunch but the sauces were good), and the quesadillas. The quesadillas have their signature beer cheese inside them – super yummy! The very last item was my favorite thing I tried – the donuts. So doughy and fluffy and not overly sweet, with a drizzle of chocolate on top it took the cake! Every single one of these items are available to order on their happy hour menu so if you need a snack, check out The Berghoff!
A little peek into what goes on into these little events I go to. Lots of lights and always food!
Before I tap out, some history as a side to the meal. We went on a tour of the secret cafe downstairs and learned all kinds of things about the restaurant. First, the start of the restaurant. During the World’s Fair, Herman Berghoff wanted to go inside to set up his beer stand to make some money like the other vendors at the fair. You had to be invited so he was turned down. Frustrated – he set up his stand right outside and the rest is history. The restaurant also has the first and second liquor licenses in the city since prohibition ended (for 100 years) since Herman Berghoff was so compliant with the city during prohibition by switching from beer to root beers and soda pop. Here he is holding it below. Though the place is old, they refuse landmark status because they want to continue improving it by knocking down walls but the bar is original as well as the wood work, stained glass and murals so they try to save as much of the original details as they can. They are also featured in the Museum of Science and Industry as part of the Yesterday’s Main Street Exhibit because their restaurant is considered the start of the legendary Route 66 and because of how long it’s been in business. Three last takeaways: everyone in the kitchen has to take a gluten & celiac certification so they are careful about the sensitivity with customers (yay for allergy awareness). The ownership of the establishment has also never left the family – going on 5 generations from grandfather to father to son and counting. The final one might surprise you – they were just named one of the best poké places in town. Yep, that’s right – a beer haus made the list and it’s considered their next best kept secret after the cafe. Something I’ll have to check out in the future I guess!
Local Spots I Checked Out: La Colombe Coffee, Yard House, The Berghoff
Events I’m Looking Forward To: MMLaFleur Meetup with Sassy Confetti and The Chicago Good Life, St. Patrick’s Day Parade,
That’s all for now, hope you learned a thing or two.
See you in the next post!